INCREDIBLE RICHNESS OF SUMMER LIFE - As I've described in other high-summers, the richness of this time is so visceral, so intensely, physically, in-your-face real, that it is almost hard to believe. Everything is alive - the sky dancing with little lightning-spark Fireflies; the very
air itself is thick with humidity and every kind of flying-insect buzzing around; even the ground is crawling with life-forms all bound on their own inscrutable journey. It seems like every bird on earth is calling, feeding, fledging their young, that every deer has a fawn (like I said - it seems that way) and we’re fairly crawling with bear-cubs. All the trees, shrubs, plants and grasses - whether of field, forest or meadow, pond or swamp - are racing for the sky and/or extending roots as deep and far into the earth as they can right now, while our daytime light is at its maximum - all “making hay while the sun shines”. It also seems that we have an abundance of fauna, but with one glaring exception - Monarch butterflies. So far, I've only seen one Monarch and few have been confirmed locally that I know of. With any luck at all, they just took a wrong turn and, having gotten the correct directions to their ancestral summer-home, are winging their way here right now (I'm such a dreamer).
Too bad, too. It's a good year for Milkweed locally but they look forlorn waiting for their butterfly Kings and Queens. For more on Monarchs, Hummingbirds and other migrators, in general, see www.journeynorth.org and www.spiritofbutterflies.com.
A MEADOW’S MEMORY - I wonder if, when the Monarchs are in their dormant winter-phase, all huddled together on Oyumel fir-trees high in the mountains of Michoacan, do they dream of their warm, golden
meadows in the north? Do they pass on to their young their memories of Milkweeds known in un-mown fields of, Beebalm, Clover, Goldenrod and Timothy in sunlit lands far afield? If indeed the Monarchs are on the verge of extinction (let's hope that their recent nose-dive in population is just a glitch, a temporary phenomenon), we may never know. Once Upon A Time, after all, many a tawny Monarch and his Queen cavorted in our fair fields, pirouetting above the sere grasses in their timeless dance, to lay their tiny white eggs under Milkweed leaf. Also, being one who believes that the Land has Memory and retains Knowledge, I can't help but wonder what the Meadow must think as the Monarchs fade away. Is it of the passing of one more bit of glory, of joy and wonder, from our world, not unlike the Fairies passing into the Otherworld? I also have to wonder if the meadow will miss us when we, too, pass on. Will we have left the lasting, wonderful impression, in our brief time, that the magical Monarchs have bequeathed to the earth in their untold generations?
Let us hope that the memories that we leave to the fields and meadow, to the forests, hills and streams, are not as those who poisoned and destroyed this wonderful world.
Take Care, “Ranger” Dave Holden
WoodstockTrails on Facebookrangerdaveholden@Instagram www.woodstocknytrails.com
Ajuga, American Beech, American Hornbeam, American Kestrel, American Robins, American (Common) Toad, Ants, Bald Eagles, Barn Owls, Barn Swallows, Barred Owls, Big Brown Bats, Baltimore Orioles, Beavers, - THIS IS - Bees (a few, at least), Beebalm, Bee-hawk moth, Belted Kingfishers, Big Tooth Aspen, Blackbirds, Black and White warbler, Black Bear, Black-capped Chickadees, Black flies, Black Snakes, - MY CHURCH - Black Swallowtail butterflies, Black Vultures, Black Walnut, Bluebirds, Bluets, Bluejays, Bobcats, Box Turtles, Broad-winged Hawks, Brown Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Brown Snakes, Brown Trout, Bull Thistle, Buttercups, Butternut trees, - WHERE - Caddisflies, Canada Mayflower (Wild Lily-of-the-Valley), Captain butterflies, Carolina Wrens, Carp, Cherry trees, Chickadees, Chipping Sparrows, Chokecherries, Common Cinquefoil, Club Moss, Coltsfoot, Common Dandelion, Common Flickers, Common Mullein, Compton’s Tortoiseshell, Copperhead snakes, - GOD IS ALL - Cottontail rabbits, Coywolves, Crabapple, Craneflies, Crayfish, Crickets, Dame’s Rockets, Daffodils, Damselflies, Dark eyed Juncos, Deer Mice, Deer Ticks, DeKay’s Snakes, Dog Ticks, Downy Woodpeckers, Dragonflies, Dutchmen’s Breeches, Dwarf Cinquefoil, Eastern Chipmunks, Eastern Cottonwoods, Eastern Coyote, Eastern Hemlocks (Google “Hemlock Wooly Adelgid”), - AROUND ME - Eastern Mole, Eastern Screech Owls, Eastern Sycamores, False Solomon’s Seal, Fireflies, Fiddlehead ferns, Fishers, Forest Tent Caterpillars (FTC), misc. Fungi, Flowering Dogwood, Garlic Mustard, Garter Snakes, Gay Wings, Goldfinches, - FLYING HIGH - Goldenrods, Grasshoppers, Great Blue Herons, Great Northern Fritillary butterflies, Green Frogs, Green Herons, Green Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Green, Green, and more Green!, OVERHEAD - Grey Birches, Grey Foxes, Grey Squirrels, Ground Cedar, Gypsy Moths, Hay- scented ferns, High-bush Blueberries, Honeysuckles, Horsetails, House Finches, House Sparrows, Huckleberries, - WINGS BRUSHING - Indian Pipes (also called Dutchmen’s Pipes), Long-stem Buttercups, Long-tailed Weasel, Low-bush Blueberries (native), Mallards, Mallow, Maples, Mayapple, Mayflies (not many this year), Meadow Voles, Merlins, Milkweed (Monarchs arriving soon - I hope), Minks, misc. Mosquitos, Mountain Laurel, - GENTLY - Mourning Cloak butterflies, Mourning Doves, - Multiflora Roses, Muskrats, New York ferns (tapered at both ends - don’t know if they’re coming or going), Non-biting (but very annoying) Midges, Northern Cardinals, - AGAINST - Northern Flying Squirrels, Northern Grackles, Northern Red Oaks, Northern Slate-colored Juncos, Ospreys, Ovenbirds, Painted Turtles, Partridgeberries, Paper Wasps, Perch, Peregrine Falcon, Phoebes, Pileated Woodpeckers, Ponderosa Pine, Poison Ivy, Purple Trillium, Pussy Willow, Quaking Aspen, - MY FACE - Queen Anne’s Lace, Raccoons, Ravens, Red-backed Salamander, Red Cedar, Red Foxes, Red-headed Mergansers, Red-eyed Vireos, Red Maples, Red Oaks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-spotted or Eastern Newt (with Red Eft terrestrial stage), Red Squirrels, Red-tail Hawks, - AND BUZZING WILDLY - Red-wing Blackbird, River Otters, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Ruffed Grouse, Sassafras, Screech Owls, Sedges, Sensitive Ferns (yes, you have to watch what you say around them), - LOOPING - Shad Blow, Shagbark Hickory, Short-tailed Shrew, Skunk Cabbage, Smooth Sumac, Snapping Turtles, Snowy Egrets, Song Sparrows, Sparrow Hawks, Spicebush, Spotted Salamanders, - AROUND ME - Spotted Sandpipers, Starflowers, Stoneflies, Striped Skunks, Striped Maples (“Charmin of the woods”), Sugar Maples, - OR GENTLY - Sulphur butterflies, Tamarack (American Larch), Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, Timber Rattlesnake, Titmice, Tree-frogs, Tree Wort, Trout-lilies, Tulip Trees, Turkey Vultures, Viburnums, Viceroy butterflies, - NIBBLING ON - Violets (I’m not-violet, myself), Virginia Opossums, Warblers, Water Snakes, Water-striders, Whip-poor-wills, White butterflies, White Ash (unfortunately, dying rapidly now), White Birch, White-footed Mice, - MY SUBMERGED TOES - White-throated Sparrows, Wild Azaleas, Wild Geraniums, Wild Parsnip, Wild Strawberries, Wild Grapes, Wild Turkeys, Willows, Wintergreen (not always green), Wisteria, Witch Hazel, - GRANDFATHER ROCKS - Woodcock, Woodchucks, Wood-frogs, Woods Anemones, Wood Ducks, Wood Thrush, Wood Turtles, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, - SPEAK - Yellow birches, Yellow Violets (which is it? Yellow or
Violet?). AND I LISTEN.